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22 December 2017updated 09 May 2018 9:57pm

Long Players: writers on their most cherished albums

Ali Smith, Jonathan Coe, Sarah Perry, George Saunders and others pick their all-time favourites.

By New Statesman

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Read all the pieces in the New Statesman’s Long Players series, available now in our Christmas special issue. 

Musa Okwonga on Aquemini by Outkast: “The kind of thing you could play to aliens”

Kate Mossman on The Rhythm of the Saints by Paul Simon: “A kind of musical synaesthesia”

George Saunders on Fragile by Yes: “A window was thrown open in my mind”

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Emily Berry on To Bring You My Love by PJ Harvey: “It speaks to your shipwrecked feelings”

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Tracey Thorn on Innervisions by Stevie Wonder: “Full of serious intent – and danceable”

David Mitchell on Blue by Joni Mitchell: “It’s art, so it’s ageless”

Will Self on Astral Weeks by Van Morrison: “I felt his words like a corkscrew to my heart”

Deborah Levy on Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie: “Britain needs this so much more than Brexit”

Ian Rankin on Solid Air by John Martyn: “The voice of a whisky-soaked angel”

Suzanne Moore on Fresh by Sly and the Family Stone: “His growl is pure libido”

Joe Dunthorne on Black Sunday by Cypress Hill: “My favourite way to get blazed”

Mark Ellen on The B-52’s: “A crisp cartoon of sound and vision”

Sarah Perry on Rachmaninov: “By the end of the first movement I was in tears”

Billy Bragg on Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance: “He scours the edgelands of British pop culture”

Meg Rosoff on This Year’s Model by Elvis Costello: “My first rock’n’roll God”

Bernardine Evaristo on Sweet Honey in the Rock: “They encapsulate the early years of black feminism”

David Hepworth on Sail Away by Randy Newman: “You wouldn’t be allowed to make it today”

Eimear McBride on Tindersticks (1995 album): “It has shaped how I think about life”

Jonathan Coe on A Symphony of Amaranths by Neil Ardley: “Epic but still intimate”

Lionel Shriver on Last Exit to Brooklyn by Mark Knopfler: “Eternal notes of lost innocence”

Bonnie Greer on Cheap Thrills and Janis Joplin: “You could hear the bourbon in her veins”

John Burnside on A Natural Disaster by Anathema: “A work of taut beauty and control”

John Harris on A Love Supreme by John Coltrane: “This was heady, elemental stuff”

Lavinia Greenlaw on White Light/White Heat by The Velvet Underground: “An experiment in limits and scale”

Fiona Mozley on Cassadaga by Bright Eyes: “A twist on adolescent idealism”

Alan Johnson on Revolver by the Beatles: “The greatest testament to an incredible phenomenon”

Linda Grant on Hejira by Joni Mitchell: “It stamped itself irrevocably on my life”

Ali Smith on her favourite albums: “Trying to choose one ended in mutiny”

Long Players Live! Tom Gatti will be joined by David Mitchell and Deborah Levy at Dublin International Literature Festival on 19 May 2018

This article appears in the 08 Dec 2020 issue of the New Statesman, Christmas special